Water
Agricultural Irrigation and Growing Cities Now Causing Water Shortages In Eastern U.S.

Agricultural Irrigation and Growing Cities Now Causing Water Shortages In Eastern U.S.

Farmers in the Eastern U.S. are increasingly turning to irrigation systems to ensure the predictability of their harvests — in Georgia irrigated farmland has increased fifteen-fold from 1960 to 2015, according to government records, and crop yields have soared.  But so have water disputes in the once water-rich states of the Southeast.

Why This Matters:  Eastern states are not ready for the coming water shortages — their laws and policies were written with water abundance in mind.

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Spring 2019 Floods Were BAD, Midwest Farmers Brace for More in 2020

Spring 2019 Floods Were BAD, Midwest Farmers Brace for More in 2020

This past spring more than 1 million acres of land flooded across five states in the Midwest.

However, now that it’s nearly winter, Midwest farmers are still very much feeling the effects of the floods and are worried about another round of flooding in 2020.

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New Film “Dark Waters” Based On True Story of DuPont Toxic Pollution

New Film “Dark Waters” Based On True Story of DuPont Toxic Pollution

A new environmental thriller called “Dark Waters” that opens in theaters later this week is already getting great reviews.  It is the passion project of its star, Mark Ruffalo, who wanted to make a film adaptation of a 2016 New York Times Magazine article by writer Nathaniel Rich entitled, “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst […]

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Possible Lead Contamination in Water Problem Hits More Cities

Possible Lead Contamination in Water Problem Hits More Cities

New Orleans city officials, according to BuzzFeed News, buried a 2017 city Inspector General Report that showed that they had failed to test for lead in the water and they claimed that the City’s water was safe even though they were unable to locate the city’s many lead pipes — both of which they are required to do under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.  And last week, water samples from 27 schools in Virginia Beach, Virginia were found to have levels of lead higher than industry safety recommendations.

Why This Matters:   Lead exposure is extremely bad for children.  According to the World Health Organization, children are “particularly vulnerable” to lead poisoning. Experts say that young children absorb 4-5 times more of the lead they ingest than adults, and high levels of lead in the bloodstream can adversely affect the development of their nervous systems and brains.

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Investigation By Associated Press Reveals More Than 1600 Risky Dams in the U.S.

Investigation By Associated Press Reveals More Than 1600 Risky Dams in the U.S.

The results of a two-year investigation by the Associated Press (AP) were published this week and the findings were shocking — nearly 1,700 dams located in 44 states and Puerto Rico were rated as “high-hazard” dams that are in poor or unsatisfactory condition.  Experts believe the actual number of risky dams is even higher — […]

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PFAS Found On Hundreds of Military Installations, With Numbers Likely To Rise

PFAS Found On Hundreds of Military Installations, With Numbers Likely To Rise

The problem of toxic fluorinated chemicals or “PFAS” is pervasive nationwide — and of the more than 1350 sites that have been identified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) roughly half of them are on military installations, and the numbers are expected to rise once testing at Navy and Air Force installations is completed

Why This Matters:  Service members and their families did not sign up for this kind of preventable hazard when they joined the military — fighting in conflict is, of course, life-threatening, but simply living on a military installation should not be.  And the fact that President Trump has repeatedly threatened to veto any legislation that comes to his desk that requires the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate PFAS shows his callous disregard for the safety and well-being of our service members and their families.  

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The Clean Water Act Has Been Drained

The Clean Water Act Has Been Drained

By Monica Medina, Founder and Publisher, Our Daily Planet The fall of 2019 will be remembered for the Ukrainian scandal and the impeachment investigation.  But for many Americans, this should be remembered as the time when our nation’s clean water crisis became crystal clear.  This is not just a Flint problem.  It is a national […]

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As Many as 100 Million Americans Likely Have PFAS in their Drinking Water

As Many as 100 Million Americans Likely Have PFAS in their Drinking Water

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) updated its database and interactive map on where toxic fluorinated chemicals or “PFAS” have been detected based on the latest state and federal data and the numbers are alarming.  Nationwide, PFAS contamination is now found at 1,361 locations in 49 states — and in a variety of sources including community water systems, groundwater sources, military bases, airports, and industrial sites. According to EWG’s analysis of unreleased EPA data, “more than 100 million Americans may have PFAS in their drinking water.”

Why This Matters:  Think twice before you drink water from a tap in much of the country.  Almost one-third of Americans may be drinking water with PFAS in it.  The EPA does not regulate this “forever” chemical that never breaks down once released into the environment, and that builds up in our blood and organs.

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Supreme Court Hears Clean Water Act Loophole Case

Supreme Court Hears Clean Water Act Loophole Case

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case about whether the Clean Water Act requires a permit for pollution from “point sources” — pipes and drainage ditches — that flows into a river or the ocean via another medium like groundwater or a wetland that is not covered by the statute. 

Why This Matters:  The stakes are high for both sides. The water treatment plant argues that it did not discharge directly into a navigable water — the ocean or a river — so it can’t be held responsible under the Act — a technicality, but one that they say protects many facilities like theirs from the high cost of treating discharges like these, as well as excusing homeowners whose septic tanks might leak.  Environmental groups on the other side say that if a polluter is allowed to discharge into another medium like groundwater and the pollution then ends up in a navigable water, it will create a huge loophole in the Act.

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Climate-Fueled Drought Fuels Uncertainty Around the World

Climate-Fueled Drought Fuels Uncertainty Around the World

While California’s 7-year drought was declared over, a rain-less October along with a NOAA report warning of a dry winter are fueling fears that the state’s water woes will be back once again.

As If Drought Wasn’t Enough: A new study from the journal Nature Geoscience predicts that as a result of climate change, at the end of the century plants could consume substantially more water, leaving less for people.

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Disposing of Toxic Coal Ash Is About To Get Easier

Disposing of Toxic Coal Ash Is About To Get Easier

Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced that it will significantly weaken two Obama Administration rules on the disposal of coal ash and on the disposal of contaminated water from coal plant operations — loosening both the timeline for compliance and exempting some plants entirely.  Under the prior rule, coal plants had to clean up their coal ash ponds by April of 2020 but now they can get up to 8 years more time.  There are serious consequences such as toxic pollutants seeping into groundwater just below the unlined coal ash disposal “ponds.”

Why This Matters:  This rollback is unconscionable – it puts at risk the health of millions of Americans — particularly minorities — who live near these coal ash ponds.

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Army Study Says Climate Change Threatens Mission Failure Due to Expanded Need for Water

Army Study Says Climate Change Threatens Mission Failure Due to Expanded Need for Water

A new study from the Army War College found that the “Army is precipitously close to mission failure concerning hydration of the force in a contested arid environment” and needs to “reinvest aggressively in technologies both in-house and commercial off the shelf in the next 5-10 years to keep pace with rising global temperatures, especially those arid areas in or poised for conflict.” 

Why This Matters:  This is not just a problem for years in the future — the military is already experiencing it today.  As we reported earlier this month, at a U.S. Air Force Base in Qatar, on hot days, servicemembers can only work for 10 minutes of each hour and they must drink 2 bottles of water during the same hour.   And NBC News and Inside Climate News reported last summer that an increasing number of service members are suffering from heat-related illnesses.

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